In today’s fast-paced world, most of us suffer from stress and depression from time to time. The fact is, for most people a lot is going on in their lives. After all, we have to handle it all! There are expectations from your family and deadlines at the office, to pressing issues like prices going high, funding for the dream home, ailments, breakups and so much more.
Surviving in this ever-challenging environment often becomes suffocating. Keep reading to know how meditation can save you and the best time to meditate.
Best Time to Meditate
Many of us have this question – ‘when is the best time to meditate?’ and answer is meditation can be practiced at any time that works for you. Having said that, you must know the best time to meditate. As already mentioned meditating in the morning is the best time. But there are other effective times as well.
Here are five of the most ideal times –
1. Morning meditation
Before the usual hustle make it a routine to meditate even for 5 minutes in the morning. After waking up the best practice could be meditation. Most importantly, when you start your day with this healthy habit your entire day goes well.
This is because meditation is not only good for your mind but it also heals your body. If you practice it for about 30 minutes a day, you will observe a remarkable change in your mindset within a week!
Also, when you make it a habit of meditating in the morning you just accomplish it at the start of the day. Otherwise you might not find a time at all for meditative practice.
2. Afternoon meditation
Meditative practice in the lunch break is a highly effective way of dealing with work stress. Afternoon meditation has several potential benefits. By doing this you can relax your body muscles plus boost your attention level.
This will regain your productivity level which was wearing down in the mid-day. Many organizations are now introducing lunch hour meditation because of its immense benefits.
Mid day meditative practice at lunch break can freshen up your mind. It releases the tension and makes you energetic for the other half of the day. It truly benefits you by removing anxiety and bringing fresh oxygen to your fatigued muscles.
3. At times of anxiety
Meditation can be a big help at times of anxiety and demotivation. Meditate whenever you are feeling low because it will help you to calm your mind and uplift your mood.
Our body physiology changes rapidly at times of anxiety and emergencies. Meditating at this hour will ooze out stress and make you feel calmer. It allows your muscles to relax and mood to elevate.
4. After work meditation
Meditating after work could be a great help for some people. When you return home after office totally drained meditate for some time to rejuvenate. Incorporate meditation in your evening routine. It will help you to relieve the stress and rejuvenate your mind and body.
The entire day’s stress and tension can be relieved by a daily evening meditative practice. If you are a workaholic make sure to include this ritual in your daily routine.
5. Meditation before bed
You can do meditation as many times and a perfect way to wrap up the day is meditating before bedtime. This would soothe your mind and body, therefore, helping you to get a deep sleep. Besides that, at this time you are not in a hurry. Therefore, meditation before going to bed can be continued for long without any trouble.
Guided meditations before bedtime can relax our body muscles, balance the blood pressure and bring peace to the mind. If you do a nighttime meditation practice for 30 minutes, it releases the entire day’s stress and prepares you for a deep and calm sleep. The next morning you wake up gleeful and energetic.
Times to Avoid Practicing It
Now that you know the best time to meditate, you should also know the times to avoid it. Do avoid practicing it right after a heavy meal. So, better do it before having food rather than after.
Don’t meditate if your stomach is full. Also, if you have a fever or illness, better discuss with a trainer if you can do it at the time. There are different postures and techniques for meditation practice. If you have any ailment or you are pregnant ask your trainer if you should be avoiding any technique at all.
When you are too tired you can do the simple breathing techniques but it’s not advised to do an exhaustive meditative practice in a stressed body and mind. If you are doing any of the advanced meditation practices its best to avoid those if you are a menstruating woman, just delivered a baby or undergone any kind of surgeries.
Meditate before or after exercise?
Meditation when combined with a workout session doubles the health benefits. But the question may arise, what first – meditation or exercise? Most fitness experts would suggest you to meditate first. When you meditate the first thing in the morning, your muscles relax, your mind becomes quiet and you are physically and mentally ready for the next step, i.e. physical exercise. Meditation acts as a therapy. When you start with it, you centre your mind.
You can try both ways and see for yourself. Honestly, there isn’t a hard and fast rule. But here’s the thing. If you meditate for 20 minutes after the workout it has been observed to give greater benefits to your body. Why? Because meditation soothes your muscles and counter any side-effects which a hectic workout can bring to you.
Whether you are a beginner or quite experienced in your fitness training, doing meditation can help you more than you can expect. It’s because meditation helps reduce pain and inflammation. After a strenuous workout it’s normal to have pain or inflammation. If you meditate post-workout your body will heal faster.
How to Introduce This Practice in Your Daily Routine
Start meditating by focusing on your breath. Gradually you will get better in this through regular practice.
√ Like any skill, meditation also becomes better through practice. And you don’t have to make it a difficult chore!
√ Sit down comfortably on a chair or a mat or a cushion.
√ Now gently close your eyes.
√ Keep breathing naturally.
√ Focus on your breath. Pay attention to the inhalation and exhalation process.
√ Observe how your body is moving along with your breathing.
√ Initially, you will find that your mind is wandering and you are losing the focus.
√ Keep calm and hold patience. Every time you get distracted just return your attention back to the breathing.
Pros and cons of each time
Advantage of Morning meditation
The obvious advantage is that when you do it early in the morning you actually get it done! Otherwise, you could not have managed to do it later in the day.
Also, when you do it in the morning in a fresh mind, you feel so much better and you carry the benefits of it all through the day.
Disadvantage of Morning meditation
Actually there is none except this one thing. If you have a busy schedule and you are not good at managing time you might get late for your work.
Advantage of Afternoon meditation
It helps you to release the work stress of mid-day and prepares you to cope up with the challenges of the remaining day.
Disadvantage of Afternoon meditation
It’s sometimes difficult to focus on the afternoon meditative practice as your mind is distracted with approaching deadlines of unfinished tasks. As your mind is wandering continuously it is a little difficult to focus on your breath.
Advantage of Evening meditation
When you meditate after returning home from work, it helps to soothe your mind and body. It can easily release your work day stress and make you feel relaxed at the present moment.
Disadvantage of Evening meditation
Your body could be too tired to continue meditative practice for long.
Advantage of Night meditation
It’s the best way to de-stress yourself before bedtime. Releases all your fatigue and enables a deep sleep.
Disadvantage of Night meditation
You might fall asleep while meditating at night.
Best time of day to meditate
Although anytime you meditate is a good time for you, the best meditative practice is usually the one practiced in the morning. Specifically the hour just before sunrise is considered as the best time of day to meditate.
How to find time for meditation
It’s a common knowledge now that meditation is extremely beneficial for our body, mind and soul. But even so how many of us actually commit to a daily meditative practice? We live in a busy world where you have so much to do in a limited time. Yes, meditating daily can be a challenging task.
Here are 10 hacks that will help you find time for meditation every single day.
- Do it in the morning
The simplest way to meditate daily is by doing it the first thing in the morning even if for only 10 minutes. This just allows it to get done and out of your way! Now you have the whole day to plan and do other things. Just do it! As simple as that sounds.
- Set an intention
Do you know the main hurdle for doing meditation? It is YOU. Because you are the one who is continuously discouraging yourself from doing this practice. It could be saying to yourself that you don’t have the time, you will get late for work, or the practice is not for you, meditation is difficult and so on.
So, if you are really serious about your meditation practice make a promise to yourself that no matter what, you are going to do it, every single day. Set an intention that you can make time and it is doable for you.
- Find a place for meditation
It is easier to continue this routine if you keep this familiar to yourself. Decide a private space for yourself where you are going to meditate. Then you actually show up on this place and keep meditating. It could be a corner in your room, a place in your garden, nearby park or any other spot where nobody is going to disturb you. After you start meditating at the same place for a week your brain will be habituated with it. Just like brushing your teeth, meditation will become the most normal thing in your life.
- Select a time for daily meditation
Choose a time for meditation. As you train your mind to sit at this precise hour every single day it gradually becomes an ingrained habit. The easiest way to start a new routine is to do it at a particular time daily. Set time in a day to meditate.
- Wear loose and comfortable clothes
Make sure to wear comfy, loose clothing so that you can sit for long without feeling any restraint. When you do something comfortably your mind does not resist doing it. You can meditate in the morning wearing your nightwear even. Keep it easy and you will get the time doing it.
- You can set a timer
If you are worried to get late for your work, set a timer before sitting for your meditation practice. That way you will be able to meditate for a specified time and this will only enhance your practice.
- Start with deep and long breaths
Even before sitting for the meditative practice, start with deep and long breaths. You can do it while doing some other chores. Gradually you will impress your mind to quiet itself. Then take out your mat and sit quietly closing your eyes. Slowly, proceed through the steps of your meditation ritual.
- Remind yourself the benefits of meditation
Give yourself constant reminders of the benefits of meditative practice. Have an inner talk. You want a healthy body and mind. Right? So, you have to meditate every day. Just like a coach motivates his players, you have to keep uplifting yourself.
- Challenge your friends
You don’t have to do it alone. The best way to consistently practice anything is by involving your friends! Set a 30 days meditation challenge among your best buddies. When you have a group of friends following the same routine it becomes easier to accomplish it. And it’s so much fun!
- Be flexible
Say you meditate in the morning. But you have a flight in the early morning or maybe an unexpected task comes to you at the time. Be flexible enough to meditate at a different time for the day. And in days of emergencies you might completely miss your practice. Instead of feeling guilty, just take a deep breath and affirm to yourself that you are going to continue it from the next day again.
Also be open to experiment. Check for yourself if early morning meditations work for you or it’s a different time altogether? Find out the best time that works for you. Test different meditation apps as well. Does guided meditation help you more? Be flexible to try out different ways of daily meditation practice.
Some Tips for a Good Meditation Practice
- As a beginner, just concentrate on your breathing. After some practice, you can chant a mantra or an affirmation of your choice.
- Switch off the artificial lights.
- You can light a candle to create a beautiful atmosphere.
- Make sure that your cell-phone is off and that nobody disturbs you at this time.
- Tidy the room before meditating. It’s easier to meditate in a clean and clutter-free environment.
- Smudging the room with sages just before meditating is a wonderful idea. Although, this would be a personal choice!
- You can do your daily prayer along with the meditation.
- Guided meditations are great for those who get distracted easily. You will find several free resources online on this.
Meditation is an amazing technique to quiet your restless mind. With regular practice, you will lead a stress-free and peaceful life. Besides that, it has several health benefits as well.
Meditate at the best times of the day as suggested in this article. Incorporate meditation into your daily routine to stay happy and healthy.
Ishita is a published author, poet and freelance writer. Being an avid reader from early childhood, she has always loved books more than anything else in the world! At the start of her career, she has worked in the corporate as well as the academic sector being a double master's degree holder - M.Sc and MBA. But now she is a fulltime writer. She believes words have immense power and writers can make a huge impact in the world! She wants to bring positivity into the lives of the readers through her association with TheMindFool.